Currently: June 2016

Breakneck Ridge, New York

Reading: I just started Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey for this new season of community groups!

Wearing: I’m in shorts and an old t-shirt from when my high school won the football state championships in 2012. It’s Sunday morning and I haven’t quite got my day started yet!

Buying: I finally picked out prescription sunglasses from Warby Parker, and they should be in the mail this week! That was my only major purchase in May. Looking forward, I’ll be booking flights to Texas this month for August, and I have my eyes on a pair of white Ked-style sneakers for summer.

Listening to: Nothing at the moment! Just the hum of my fan. (Didn’t even have to change that answer from May!)

Eating: I haven’t eaten yet today but I’m planning on chicken teriyaki with rice for lunch, followed by an afternoon of grazing on junk food at church.

Watching: Last night I rented Brooklyn from Amazon, after plowing through the book earlier in the week. I liked it! I was skeptical when it felt like it was 75% of the way through the book plot in the first half hour, but it all came together and it was definitely fun to see the words come to life.

Planning: Not much big stuff – little summer adventures here and there, and a potential weekend trip to DC (my DC friends were going to come here, but they just got a puppy!)

Excited for: All of the summer adventures! A big group is heading to the Yankee game tomorrow, and in general I’m excited for rooftop bars and picnics  and loooooong days.

Hoping: A lot of my hopes lately have come true (!) and I’m finding it hard to think of ways for life to be any better!

Books read: 21/52- ON TRACK

Trips taken: 6/12 – Thanks to a little getaway this month for reminding me of the spirit of this challenge, which is having adventures even if I only have a day to spare!

How last month’s challenge went: Horrifically bad.

This month’s challenge: One hour of screen-free time every day. So far so good!

And how is YOUR June going?

Catching up via Instagram: 5/15/2016

This past month has been a roller-coaster. I’ve realized that my moods largely depend on the weather (duh, I know), and we had spring weather with blossoms, followed by eight straight days of rain (and yes, I was counting), followed by the sun’s triumphant return and greens replacing the pinks. Personally, I celebrated my birthday (how was that less than a month ago?!), fell into a depressive funk, and then got happier but stayed super lazy as it started to warm up outside (again…). Here’s a little glimpse of the drama.

New York City Freedom Tower from TribecaTulips in Washington Square, New York City

I spent a morning frolicking around Tribeca with friends (how good is the view?!) and an afternoon frolicking around Washington Square (my fave) during the early days of spring.

Bareburger, Greenwich Village, New York City

My friend Dani came to visit from San Diego, and we decided to celebrate with the first al fresco meal of the season: healthy burgers at Bareburger! Unfortunately, it got chilly as soon as the sun went down. We may have been overly optimistic…

Cherry blossoms in Washington Square, New York CityBirthday strawberry shortcakeBirthday girl

It was miraculously 70 degrees on my birthday and I wore a dress for the first time this season! My roommate made me that beautiful strawberry shortcake (because I don’t like frosting – so thoughtful!) and Emmie came over after work (and dinner!) to sit with me while I opened presents from my family. It was a most excellent day!

Sun shining through the trees in Union Square, New York CityNational Pretzel Day

National Pretzel Day was a highlight, of course. I don’t need an excuse to indulge – I frequently stop at street carts for pretzels, and the new Wetzel’s in the Fulton Center is a hazard to my health – but I spoiled myself by picking up some spicy mustard for the occasion.

Cherry Blossoms in Greenwich Village, New York CityEmpire State Building, New York CityColorful tulips at Brooklyn Heights PromenadeNew York City skyline from Brooklyn Heights Promenade

I’m glad I took advantage of the weather and got so many photos before it got dreary out!

Rainy day in Union Square, New York CityRainy Day on Avenue of the Americas, New York City

It’s very, very hard to capture good imagery in the rain. The only highlight (metaphorical, unfortunately) in that week was an afternoon with my friend Molly. For our birthdays every year (they’re six months apart!) we splurge on Thai food (Republic, above, is a favorite) and then browse our favorite bookstores.

Chika Mexicana, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York City

When the sun finally did emerge, I already had plans to be super lazy with takeout and Netflix (and Emmie, lest you think I’m super anti-social). Still, it was nice to see the rays streaming into Chika while I waited for my burrito bowl.

Sun shining through the trees at Union Square, New York CitySun shining, open lawn at Bryant Park

Naturally I spent the last week outside as much as humanly possible! I popped by Bryant Park on a day off and it happened to be the first day the lawn was open for the season – the joy was palpable!

Havilah Cunnington speaking at Liberty Sisterhood

On Friday night, my church had a Sisterhood event – always a highlight for me! Havilah Cunnington was able to join us and preach an amazing message, and I was super lucky to have a front-row seat. So excited to hear her speak again at She Is Free in the fall!

Follow me on Instagram here for real-time updates.

A visit to the New York Botanical Garden

I keep a running list of things I want to do and see here in New York, and the New York Botanical Garden has been on that list for approximately forever. Located in the Bronx, the Garden actually has 28 gardens, including a conservatory, and I can now confirm that you could stay there for days and not see everything. But boy did we try! Emmie, her roommate Rachael, and I all had last Friday off and we took that opportunity to venture to the Bronx (let’s just say it took an hour and a half on one express train). Thanks to the day of the week, the clouds, and the chill in the air, we felt like we had the place to ourselves!

Tulips at the New York Botanical Garden

Tulips are my absolute favorite, and as such I was thrilled to find them blooming all around the visitor center.

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical GardenInside the conservatory at the New York Botanical GardenFlower at the New York Botanical Garden

We splurged on tickets that included entrance to the conservatory, and boy are we glad we did! The rainforest rooms were a great place to warm up (seriously it was so cold outside), and you know how much I love a desert environment (remember when we went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden?!)

House at the New York Botanical GardenWaterfall on the Bronx RiverBridge over the Bronx RiverWaterfall on the Bronx RiverThe Bronx River

After a while, we hopped on a tram and rode it halfway around the garden. We hopped off to look at some lilacs, but I was soon distracted by a sign indicating a nearby waterfall. We ventured off to explore and to our surprise, the Bronx River runs right through! We admired the waterfall from up close, then climbed to the bridge that stretches over the river. I think if we had been properly prepared, this would be a great spot for some light hiking!

Flower at the New York Botanical GardenFlower at the New York Botanical GardenFlower at the New York Botanical GardenCherry blossoms at the New York Botanical Garden

Of course, it wouldn’t be a garden visit this time of year without some colorful blooms!

If you want to go: Take the 4, B or D subway trains (thankfully all express!) to Bedford Park, then it’s about a 20 minute walk OR you can take the Bx26 bus the rest of the way. You can also take Metro North from Grand Central, which will drop you right near the entrance. See here for hours and pricing, which vary by day. And plan to spend the whole day there! We were there about four hours and it wasn’t nearly enough.

Currently: May 2016

View of the Empire State Building from Fifth Avenue

It’s been a very New York month

Reading: I’m partway through Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson (my first of his books, believe it or not!) I also went on a bit of an ebook-buying spree this week so I have lots of options for the month ahead!

Wearing: Pink sweatpants, pink sweatshirt, polkadot fuzzy socks. Cute, I know. It’s Saturday and I’m in full-on lazy mode.

Buying: I made it through April without any major purchases – sometimes I just need to remind myself that it IS possible to live in this city and save money at the same time. In May I’m looking to buy prescription sunglasses (Warby Parker here I come!) and plane tickets to Texas for the end of summer!

Listening to: Nothing at the moment! Just the hum of my fan.

Eating: I cooked a big breakfast this morning of spicy jalapeno chicken sausage, fried eggs and cinnamon toast. Usually I’m up super early and don’t have the energy for anything fancier than cereal, so I like to take advantage of the weekends!

Watching: Look out for a post later in the month about my current favorite shows because the list is finally growing! Most recently, I watched the season finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and my current binges of choice are Happy Endings and Gilmore Girls (which I’ve seen in full multiple times, but I can’t resist the media frenzy surrounding the revival!) 

Planning: I’m hoping to make a solo trip to Philadelphia happen this month, or early June at the latest. I can’t believe I’ve never been! I also have an exciting day trip in the works for a couple weekends from now, but I’m leaving my friends in charge of the actual planning for that one.

Excited for: There is SO MUCH happening this month! Team bonding sessions and engagement parties and more friends moving to Crown Heights. Still just loving spring in New York City!

Hoping: for continued good weather – last week felt a little too much like winter for my liking, but today seems to be sunny and warm! (I’ll fully admit to not having been outside yet).

Books read: 16/52, just one behind! I’m so excited this is going well

Trips taken: 5/12 – I didn’t leave NYC in April, but that was intentional, and I’m still ahead on this goal!

How last month’s challenge went: I ate a vegetable every day in April except one, but I had a migraine and didn’t eat anything at all, so I’m calling it a win! I even crave vegetables now sometimes, and have expanded my horizons to include things like broccoli. Yay!

This month’s challenge: Reading my Bible every day. I KNOW I KNOW. I should be doing this automatically. But I’m not, so let’s try to fix it.

And how is YOUR May going?

Celebrating my birthday at the Bacon and Beer Classic

When you ask me to name my favorite things, it’s no surprise that food and alcohol immediately spring to mind. I’ve been a big fan of bacon since I was a kid, and a big fan of beer since I was… 21. And not a day sooner!

IMG_9058

So I knew it wasn’t a coincidence that the absolutely genius Bacon and Beer Classic was swinging through New York City the weekend of my 26th birthday. Even better, it was being held at Citi Field, the only one of the two MLB stadiums in New York I had yet to visit. Best of all? My friend Jason won VIP tickets, and since we share a birthday (I’m two hours older, and don’t let him tell you otherwise), we decided to trek out to Queens to celebrate in the very best possible way.

Citi Field

All night long we sampled different beers in our very own souvenir glasses, and stuffed ourselves with not only different kinds of bacon (huge fan of jalapeno bacon here, by the way), but also bacon-related treats. My favorite? The bacon marshmallow from 240 Sweet! Happy Hour on a stick indeed.

Bacon marshmallows from 240 Sweet at the Bacon and Beer Classic

The best part of the evening, though, had to be that our VIP tickets granted us field access. When we felt like we needed a break from all the drinking (or the crowds on the concourse), we’d head down, chill in the dugout, and do a lap around the bases. I’m not a Mets fan, but I am a baseball fan, and this experience was worth it in and of itself.

Citi FieldHanging out in the dougout at Citi Field

Also, isn’t my outfit amazing?! Mom and Dad sent the Viva La Brunch tank for my birthday, and the vest is from Grandma and Grandpa – without even trying, they managed to send perfectly coordinated gifts! It’s already my go-to outfit; the tank made an encore appearance at my neighborhood party the next night.

Mashed potatoes with bacon at Citi Field for the Bacon and Beer Classic

Cheers to more adventures like this at 26!

The Bacon and Beer Classic travels to different cities and sets up in major sports venues, with just Seattle still to come this year. If you want to go in Seattle or in the future, I’d really really recommend splurging for the VIP tickets. We got in an hour early and there were NO lines – by the time we left two and a half hours later, people were waiting 20 minutes just for samples. Plus, come on – field access!